A PENSIONER has described the "horrible" moment an large gull swooped through her hair while she stood talking to a friend in Worcester city centre.
Chris Knight, of Randwick Drive, Warndon, was in Angel Place at around midday on Friday when the bird sped straight towards her.
Although the 70-year-old had her back to the bird and didn't notice it swoop just inches from her head, she turned just in time to face it flapping towards her again.
She said: "When it flew over my head the first time, I didn't take any notice but when it came back for me, and actually through my hair, that is when I sat up and took notice because I'm terrified of birds anyway.
"I could see it was swooping so low and it went right through the top of my hair. It could have been really nasty. It could have scratched my head.
"It was horrible. It just went through the top of my hair, if it had its claws out, it would have scratched."
She explained seagull chicks were stood on the pavement, leading her to believe the bird which attacked her may have been protecting its young.
However, she is now calling for the birds to be culled, adding that other people were also being attacked by the gulls, including people using mobility scooters.
"I have never seen it this bad before," said Mrs Knight. "I have just come back from a week at the seaside and we didn't have the problem with seagulls we have here. I think they need to cull them."
Worcester City Council spends thousands of pounds every year on tackling the seagull problem and uses a contractor to place fake eggs on roofs to deter gulls from leaving real ones.
A city council spokesman said: "We are sorry to hear about this unpleasant encounter.
"According to environmental health experts, the number of nesting pairs of gulls in Worcester has been reduced from approximately 300 to under 200 over the last ten years, representing an encouraging reduction.
"This has been achieved through a gull control programme (which Worcester City Council contributes to) where real eggs have been replaced with dummy eggs on roofs which can be safely accessed.
"Over time, this programme will lead to further reductions in the city’s gull population. We urge people not to drop food waste and packaging in the city, as this only exacerbates the problem.
"All birds (included gulls) are protected under The Wildlife and Countryside Act and enforced by Natural England. This limits our control options.
"Furthermore, gulls are not classified as a public health pest, hence there are no specific laws that place obligations on local authorities to deal with or eliminate gulls."
The spokesman added private owners can take steps to make their buildings less attractive to nesting gulls.
A range of advice can be found at worcsregservices.gov.uk/environmental-health/pest-control/gull-control/self-help.aspx
- Have you had problems with gulls in Worcester city centre? Let us know by tweeting @worcesternews or email firstname.lastname@example.org